Meng Fuyao interrupted his unceasing torrent. "Stop talking about your family. Instead, talk about yourself."
"I..." Yan Jingchen paused, melancholy settling onto his face. After a while, he said, "Fuyao, my future wife will have considerable status in these lands in the future. Beauty and talent, both are indispensable. Imperatively, her aptitude cannot be lacking. Otherwise, it will bring shame on my family."
"Talk about yourself!"
Meng Fuyao's yell provoked Yan Jingchen, unleashing the arrogance and fury of a son of noble upbringing. He cried out, "I! I have had enough of you falling short of expectations and the mockery that I have endured because of you!"
Meng Fuyao took a step back, staring at Yan Jingchen, whose expression had become fierce and sinister, in a daze.
Twilight fell, its dull colors enveloping the entire land. The bright green of the leaves appeared to be covered with a layer of filth, stifling one's breath. The gentle youth, drifting in this gray backdrop, with his twisted features, appeared distant and unfamiliar.
The only sound left was that of the wind brushing against the edges of robes.
After a moment, Meng Fuyao suddenly laughed.
Her laughter resembled a flower blooming in the still and silent darkness. It carried a trace of sorrow but what was more apparent was a resolute, radiant smile.
"Good. Good." She brushed her robe's sleeves in Yan Jingchen's direction as if she was brushing both him and the dust away simultaneously.
"I understand. You cannot tolerate your wife being an idiot with no talent in martial arts. An idiot whom you are ashamed to bring to state banquets where she would be ridiculed. You cannot tolerate that your flawless life as a son of nobility would be stained by a wife who is unworthy of your status. Yan Jingchen, believe me, Pei Yuan will be the perfect wife. The two of you will be just like a noble lady followed by a distinguished guest dog, raising your status a hundred times higher and complementing each other," said Meng Fuyao indifferently.
She smiled without a trace of laughter in her eyes. Her voice was deep and cold, like the sharp edge of a sword waiting to be drawn to release its dazzling gleam.
"Congratulations, you have found your distinguished guest dog." After completing her speech, Fuyao turned and walked away without sparing a glance at Yan Jingchen.
"Fuyao!" Abruptly, Yan Jingchen dashed towards her, grabbing her sleeve. He said in a low voice filled with helplessness, conflict, and pain, "Fuyao, I like you!"
"Keep your love and use it to curry favor with your distinguished guest dog!" Fuyao gave a ghastly smile. Then, she lifted her fingers, and a ray of light materialized at her fingertips. She made a sweeping motion with her hand and chopped straight for the robe that was being grasped, releasing the light dangerously fast.
The sword of light had yet to arrive, but the chilliness was overpowering. Jingchen had thought that Fuyao would not be merciless towards him and continued to grasp tightly on her sleeve. However, Fuyao did not even hesitate, and her motion went straight towards his fingers.
Jingchen was scared out of his wits. He immediately withdrew his fingers, but, it was still too late. A neat, red scar appeared on his fingers. At first, it was as white as his skin but soon after fresh blood seeped out of the wound, dripping onto the dark ground silently.
"I!" Meng Fuyao did not bother looking back. She stood with a straightened back, portraying an unyielding image in the surrounding darkness. "I want you to remember, some mistakes, like your injury, are unnoticeable in the beginning. But as time goes by, you will bleed and suffer."
She remained back-facing Yan Jingchen, with a light smile on her face, as cold as the new moon in the sky.
"Yan Jingchen, trust me. You will sooner or later suffer."
The night was chillingly cold.
Fuyao sat cross-legged on the ground, staring at the moon, lost in thought. In all her memories, it seemed like tonight's moon was the coldest. Its eerie light could chill one's heart.
The stars were shining strangely, unstable and unpredictable, just like the fickle human heart.
She vaguely recollected the day of their first encounter. It was a stormy day. Meng Fuyao had been knocking her head hard against the mud floor as she had been begging Master Lin Xuanyuan to accept her as a disciple. In the heavy wind, in front of the gate, a modest gentleman with a warm smile had been standing beside the Master. That day, the young man had extended his hand to her, slender and clean, warm as spring.
"Fuyao, actually, I like you."
"Fuyao, in this world if you do not have power, you will be despised by others your entire life."
"Fuyao, you need to strive your best. If you remain like this, what will become of you?"
"Fuyao, everything about you is good. Unfortunately, your talent is lacking."
'I should have discovered it sooner. But I willingly immersed myself in the warmth that he provided, not realizing the truth.'
'Fortunately, I have never thought of becoming your distinguished guest dog.'
Meng Fuyao laughed sarcastically and waved her hands vigorously as if she was chasing away mosquitoes. She buried the thoughts that she never wanted to think of again to the back of her mind. Then, she closed her eyes and started to circulate her Qi.
A little while later, steam started to rise from the top of her head. Her whole body gave out a pale bluish green light, enveloping her. The light gradually traveled upwards, and eventually became stationary at her chest.
The Cleaving Nine Heavens technique was the secret martial arts that her real Teacher, the old Taoist priest, had forbidden her from imparting to others.
At that time, Meng Fuyao had excavated the tombs too aggressively, ending up traveling back in time. After time-traveling, she mysteriously lost the memories of this new world before the age of five. Since the age of five, she had been forced by an old Taoist priest to practice this martial art for 10 whole years.
The Cleaving Nine Heavens technique was divided into a total of nine levels. During those 10 years, she had only reached the pinnacle of the third level of this technique.
Currently, the ascending True Qi was being gathered and formed a bluish-green light, mainly attacking all the gentle Yin techniques.
As she practiced, the night and the afternoon with piercing sunlight passed. When Fuyao opened her eyes once again, it was already mid-afternoon.
After opening her eyes, Fuyao frowned and let out a sigh. She had been stagnant at the pinnacle of the third level for half a year, with no breakthrough. If this persisted, how could she participate in the True Martial Arts Meet? What ability would she have to make people suffer sooner or later?
And most importantly, the aspiration in her heart seemed even more impossible to be fulfilled and even further than before.
Fuyao bit her lips before standing up and striding down the mountain. After estimating the time, she believed that Yan Jingchen should have left by now.
He was gone, that was good.
Meng Fuyao had no desire to remain on the mountain any longer. She planned to pack her belongings and leave immediately.
Halfway down the mountain, walking through a concealed valley, a building with grand, continuous columns and eaves built along the mountain was revealed. That was the Mystic Essence Manor.
Even in the distance, the commotion from the Manor could be heard. Amongst the racket, a person could be heard shouting in a piercing voice, "The Mystic Essence Sword Sect claims to be one of the top three Sword Sects in the world, but how could it not even have a presentable disciple?"
Master Xuanyuan's slightly awkward cough came after that remark. The resentful counterattacks of all her fellow disciples mingled with the clear sound of swords being unsheathed. The manor was bustling with noise.
Meng Fuyao frowned. She was aware that martial arts were extremely popular in this world and it was common for different Guilds and Sects to challenge each other. It was probably another similar occasion.
Meng Fuyao took out the tools that she used for disguise. She used the water in the stream and applied makeup to make herself have the look of a girl with wretched looks. All along, she had only shown her true looks to Yan Jingchen.
After entering the manor, she could only reach her room by passing through the martial arts arena. The Mystic Essence's martial arts arena was considered one of the largest world-class arenas, covering vast lands. It was so impressive and magnificent that they didn't use it for normal training.
Meng Fuyao entered the arena stealthily, thinking that she could leave smoothly. However, what she saw from the corner of her eye shocked her greatly.
In the martial arts arena stood a few hundred people, dressed in different colors, each occupying a corner of the field. It seemed like multiple sects had come to challenge the Mystic Essence Sword Sect simultaneously.
Meng Fuyao even noticed a few men in the crowd with exceptional auras and profound looks, bearing a commanding presence that definitely did not belong to normal individuals.
Apart from Yan Jingchen, all the disciples of the Mystic Essence Sword Sect were gathered. Their expressions were cautious and full of worry. Some of her fellow male disciples seemed to have sustained injuries, supporting their weight with their swords with blood at the corner of their lips.
The air was filled with a sense of heavy unease.
Sect Master Lin Xuanyuan was sitting cross-legged on the terrace located in the corner of the martial arts arena. It seemed that he had already competed, sitting in the corner silently to recuperate. His complexion was slightly pale as he had not held an advantage over his opponent.
In the center of the field, a man dressed in black robes was currently sparring with the Eldest Senior Brother of the Mystic Essence Sword Sect.
The sword technique of the man in black was extremely swift, resembling a coiled dragon flying in the sky and specks of starlight. The multiple motions of the sword seemed to converge into a single wave, majestic in its variety. Due to the countless variations in the motion of the sword, staring at it for a prolonged period could lead one to develop a feeling of slight dizziness.
Meng Fuyao heard one of her senior brothers say in a low voice, "That's the Scarless Sword technique. He is one of the top ten Swordsmen in Tai Yuan, with the most mysterious background and the most eccentric character. Who knows how the White Mountain Sect was able to invite him?"
"I was wondering why the annual Tai Yuan Top Ten Sword Sect's challenge was suddenly brought forward, now I understand. The Old White Dog has found an assistant, and deliberately came to trample us from the Mystic Essence!"
"With him alone, provoking our whole Sect, so deadly?"
"So what? They have sufficient ability to do that. Don't you see that Eldest Senior Brother has only barely managed to tie with him?"
"Ai. It seems like we will really be trampled today..."
Meng Fuyao remained indifferent and continued moving forward. Before she had even traveled a few steps, she suddenly heard a horrific scream, "Ah!"
Strong winds carrying a bloody scent blew towards her. A dark figure suddenly flew backward, smashing straight for her. Meng Fuyao jumped away hastily. The large frame, accompanied by brightly colored blood droplets, streaked across the air and landed hard on the ground directly in front of her.
The fresh blood splashed onto the weapons rack at the corner of the arena. A moment later, the thick blood dripped onto the white stone floor. Red and white mixed together, forming a startling sight.
The entire crowd was silent.
Every single Mystic Essence Sword Sect disciple on the arena was staring at the man, who was clutching his right wrist and rolling on the ground in pain, with horrified and astonished gazes. That was their Eldest Senior Brother, one of the disciples with the most outstanding martial arts amongst them.
Only after a while did someone remember to scramble forward to help him up, but let out a scream.
Elder Senior Brother's right hand was covered and dripping with fresh blood; the tendons in his hands all damaged.
What a vicious sword technique!
The Mystic Essence Sword Sect was silent. Thus, the wild laughter of the other people in the field seemed all the more piercing.
The man dressed in black robes was the only individual who remained indifferent, standing at the center of the arena. He was calmly wiping the body of the sword which was covered in blood.
The cloth he used to wipe his sword was vaguely familiar. It was, in fact, the cloth from Elder Senior Brother's right sleeve! Expressions of fury appeared on the faces of the Mystic Essence Sword Sect's disciples. Only Meng Fuyao raised her eyebrows.
'Such fast sword techniques! Within that instant, not only did he maim his opponent's hand, he was also able to cut off a neat length of the sleeve.'
'What's more, his opponent was also an expert who was able to adapt and change swiftly!'
The wild laughter of the White Mountain Sect's Sect Master continued. However, sounds of sobbing could be heard amongst the people from the Mystic Essence Sword Sect. It seemed that the Mystic Essence Sword Sect would be greatly disgraced in Tai Yuan today.
In the current landscape, the various powers between countries were fighting continuously. They used the number of victories they obtained to establish their position. As one of the three large Sword Sects in Tai Yuan, the Mystic Essence Sword Sect had lost in such an important event like the Sword Challenge. If the news that they were unable to defeat a single individual, even with the advantage in numbers, were to be leaked, their status would decline drastically.